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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

HISTORY    AS    A   BRANCH    QF   LITERATURE

The Tudor Englishman is not merely a link in a chain
which leads to the twentieth century, but is recognised
to Rave existed in his own right. The dissolution of the
monasteries is to be regarded as more than merely a
factor in the transition to the modern economic world.
Professor Trevelyan has pointed out that it is not enough
to know the technical reasons why the Roundheads
defeated the Cavaliers in the seventeenth-century civil
wars—reasons which a writer of tabloid history might
reduce to a series of formulas. He tells us that " the
feelings, speculations and actions of the soldiers of
Cromwell's army are interesting in themselves and not
merely as part of a process of cause and effect". In
reality we may^go further than Professor Trevelyan did,
and say that unless the life of the past is envisaged for
its own sake, in this way, and the personalities them-
selves recovered just for love, the scientific analyses that
we make will be liable to aberration, and we may go
wrong in our very attempts to relate cause and effect.
A further point which Professor Trevelyan has put
forward brings this whole line of argument to a climax,
and presents us with one of the most important state-
ments that could be made about the study of the past
He is really telling us that there is a defect in that kind of
history which sets out to tabulate the successive stages
of human development—the kind of history which sees
Galileo as merely preparing the way for Newton, and
Wycliff as nothing more than a stage on the road to
Luther, " It is not man's evolution but his attainment
that is the great lesson of the past and the highest theme
of history ", he says. In other words, it is wrong to

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